Change always presents opportunity
I've made it a lifelong rule to keep politics out of any business I've been in. I’m not going to change that rule, and have nothing to say about the politics or merits of the two sides of the Brexit debate which have thrown Britain into a state of turmoil. However, what strikes me most about the aftermath of the vote to leave the EU is the extent of hand-wringing and trepidation among business people, both from those who got the result they wanted, and from those who didn’t.
A single important question was asked of the British electorate last week. It’s been answered and change will result. That change may be good or bad, depending on the business you happen to be in, but the important aspect of change is wherever it happens, there is always opportunity. Change is a fact of business life, and in the long term, businesses which constantly seek it out and embrace it will always be more successful than those who avoid it. This is a change which may have been unwanted, but it’s happened and we all now have to get on with it.
Some industries will probably experience a worsening of their prospects. Industries such as aviation, food importers and house building could experience negative effects from changing regulation, a weaker pound, and lower consumer confidence respectively. Conversely, the UK’s fishing industry, high-end engineering and medical technologies, and the creative industries will see their businesses benefit from quota relaxations, and the export boost of a weaker pound. Globally, Britain’s cultural and creative exports have never been stronger or in greater demand. That’s not going to change in the foreseeable future.
But what about the industry which has had most to say on repeated occasions since the vote to leave, the Financial Services sector? The extent of wailing and railing against change written widely throughout the financial press in the past few days has been depressing. I thought those in the City were more pragmatic and made of sterner stuff. Many of the opinions I’ve seen expressed from the City moan widely about reduced share prices and weaker job prospects in financial institutions. These are the same people who tried to persuade us that the global turmoil and crises they caused in 2008 and which we are still paying the price for was not their fault, and we all had to be pleased with the privilege of bailing them out. Did they think this week’s change would affect everyone other than themselves? It’s time for everyone in business to find a way to prosper from change, and make the best of the opportunities it presents.